It seems, to me, that no one, no one with a heart, at least, can feel anything but pity for the handful of young children ~ an article in the Globe and Mail says that there are 18 children amongst 33 Canadians ~ being detained, somehow (whatever detained means in the circumstances) in Northeastern Syria. One presumes that some (many? most?) of these children were either born there or taken there, at a very young age, by their parents.
But it also seems to me that no one, no one with a conscience, at any rate, can feel anything but a wee tinge of something akin to schadenfreude at the plight of the other 15 Canadians, the adults who were either stupid enough or malevolent enough to go to the Middle East with the aim of helping Da’esh/ISIL/ISIS in its murderous campaign against the civilized West.
I think I understand why the Government of Canada is reluctant to do anything. Most fair-minded Canadians want these people brought home … the adults to face criminal charges for what they did and the children to be rescued and raised by responsible adults, a group which, very likely, will not include their parents. A friend of mine, who understands that law in this matter, confirms the Globe and Mail‘s repeat of “Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale’s [acknowledgement] that it is hard to find evidence from a foreign war zone that will stick in a Canadian courtroom.” To bring the adults home and then release them back into society, with their children, seems wrong to most honest, decent Canadians … they were, after all, aiming to aid or even join a band of murdering barbarians. Some people think that the Government of Canada should use the notwithstanding clause (§33 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms) which “permits Parliament to modify judicial processes in certain circumstances for up to five years,” in order to admit evidence of criminal wrongdoing. I’m not a lawyer, I do not have an informed opinion, but, as a general principle, I oppose limiting any individual’s legal rights in order to achieve the state’s ends.
Being stupid is, thankfully, not a crime, but cutting people’s throats, burning them alive, stoning them to death and tossing them off the roofs of buildings are …
… and so are aiding, abetting and providing aid and comfort to those who do … or, at least, they ought to be.
What to do?
I guess that Ralph Goodale, one of the few adults in the Trudeau cabinet, is doing the best thing possible. He’s dragging his feet, or ragging the puck or whatever else you might want to call it, hoping that some legally and politically reasonable option will pop out of some magician’s hat. It’s hard to fault him for that. I, personally and entirely inconsistently (I agree, in advance, that is the case) want the 18 children “rescued” and brought home and the 15 adults to rot, forever, in whatever filthy hell-hole their captors can devise. The children need to be put in the custody of someone ~ grandparents or aunts and uncles, I suppose, although I doubt the fitness of some of the parents of the 15 adults being held in Syria ~ and then left, in peace and privacy, to their own devices.
The social and cultural and political problems that lie at the behind barbaric groups like Da’esh/ISIL/ISIS are beyond the scope of this poor blog, but some people will believe that they comprehend them and that they must “do something” to “help.” There are laws against that but, in my opinion, there should not be; if you want to go and fight for some foreign country, even to fight against Canadians you should be free to do so … on the firm understanding that your citizenship, even if by birth, is forfeit when you do ~ your passport will be revoked, no consular services will be provided, no one will try to rescue your children from your own folly, you will be de facto and de jure a stateless person, even if you and your great-grandparents were born in Canada: you make your bed and you lie in it. I doubt that can happen in law, but it should.
Of course, what is really, really needed is to replace Team Trudeau …
… with a new team, of responsible adults …
… I will not cry if the good voters of Regina - Wascana and Notre-Dame-de-Grâce -Westmount decide to send a few good Liberals back to Ottawa, to the opposition benches; and I really hope that the voters of Vancouver – Granville and Markham – Stouffville send fine independent candidates back to Ottawa to help hold a Conservative government to account.
That new, grownup government has to operate, within our laws, to “protect” all Canadians, even from their own stupidity. I’m sure Minister Goodale is correct: it will be somewhere between bloody hard and absolutely impossible to bring the criminal charges against the adults that are so richly deserved; we may have to, eventually, bring them home and, almost certainly, provide them with the sorts of support that the Trudeau Liberals deny to our veterans. That’s distasteful but, probably inevitable. The children are another matter and the government should act, soon, to rescue them, from their parents and their Arab jailers, and to protect them, again from their parents, until they are old enough to make their own choices.